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Our APIs

If you develop your own tools, or if you use a computing environment other than R, you want to access our APIs (application programming interfaces). The SBDI Bioatlas offers a wide range of well-documented web APIs. Together, they provide access to a rich set of powerful features.

What is an API?

An API (Application Programming Interface) is a set of rules allowing two software systems to talk to each other. The rules specify which calls are allowed, how they should be structured, which data format should be used, and what the reply should look like. A web API is an API that allows systems to talk to each other over the web.

The SBDI Bioatlas provides a rich set of web APIs. They allow you to search and download SBDI data and to access Bioatlas services through computer code. For instance, you can use the APIs from a python program or shell script to automate complex SBDI data analysis tasks.

SBDI Bioatlas APIs

The Bioatlas web APIs adhere to the RESTful standard, making them easy to use. Through the Bioatlas APIs you can search and download specimen and observation data, retrieve taxonomic information, list map layers, create maps, and access information about data providers, to name just a few possibilities. The Bioatlas API documentation describes how each call is structured and what information you can include in it. We also give examples of calls and the response returned by the Bioatlas.

The API calls are grouped by category and by Bioatlas application.


We constantly develop the Bioatlas in collaboration with the Living Atlases community and GBIF. Several SBDI tools are not yet integrated in the Bioatlas, or are only partly integrated. Some of these tools have their own APIs. Locate each of these tools on the SBDI Bioatlas or our tools description overview to find out more about their APIs. The GBIF data from around the world can be accessed directly through the GBIF API, and each of the national hubs in the Living Atlases community support their own APIs, similar to the SBDI Bioatlas APIs. For instance, the Atlas of Living Australia API is documented here and the UK NBN Atlas API here.

Share your tools

If you develop your own tools using SBDI data or services, consider sharing them with the SBDI community! Our Support Center can help you inform the community about your contributions.